Shortly after the joyful meeting recorded in our last chapter, Peter and James went to the Isle of Man, while Nessy remained with the Grahams. She had, as will be seen, an invitation from Lady Tempest, which she declined.
"Letter to Lady Tempest, on being invited to stay at her house in Herefordshire" :
Accept, my dear madam, the tribute thats due
To kind hospitality, friendship, and you;
Accept my best thanks for your kind invitation,
Which conveys to my bosom so sweet a sensation.
Tho flatterd am I by such friendships excess
What words can my gratitude ever express?
Forgive, if at present, I cannot comply
My Mamma is impatient, and home I must hie:
I wait but to see a good aunt, whom I love,
That duty performd, I immediately move.
To part with my friends I shall feel much regret,
I almost coud wish we never had met.
How then coud I bearhad I gone to Hope-End,
Where, with such a party, such hours I should spend
To know youto love youyet quit you in haste,
Too painful the trial such pleasure to taste;
Too great my vexation in leaving you so,
Too heavy my loss, when I homeward shoud. go.
Mrs. Graham, with goodness thats truly her own,
Since now it is not in my powr to go down,
To oblige nie still more has most kindly requested
My consent to a plan she herself has suggested.
To you shell impart it, and should it succeed,
My wishes will then be complied with indeed.
I then shall acknowledge your goodness excessive,
Yet to tell you my feelings what words are expressive?
Believe me, dear madam, I neer can forget
Your attention and friendship which early Ive met;
In person Ill thank you, and tell you that never
Shall time from my bosom true gratitude sever.
To your fair friend, Miss Harriett, I beg. my best love,
Which I hope shell return, if deserving I prove;
Shoud she eer know me better I hope she will like me,
At present her wit is sufficient to strike me.
My respects to Sir Harry, and compliments due,
With all my affectionate wishes, te you.
My brother is well, and sincerely he joins
His grateful expressions with mine in these lines.
Believe me, I ever shall think you too good,
And am ever your much obligd
Her time, till the end of the year, was spent, partly with the Grahams, and partly with her uncle and aunt Holwell, at Tunbridge Wells. Her next effusion was :
"To MR. GRAHAMON HIS BIRTHDAY."
Oh, be this day for ever blest to thee,
From care exempt, from pain and sorrow free;
May each succeeding year with joy abound,
And evry birthday be with pleasure crownd.
Each bliss he thine, that bounteous heavn can give,
While life remains and thou shalt wish to live
Be all thy days with sweet contentment blest
Till full of years thou gently sinkst to rest.
But may I neer that fatal moment see,
Nor weep the friendship I should lose in thee.
The 30th of December found her at Liverpool, where she composed some lines :
"ON A POCKET MIRROR."
Thou pleasing little gift to lite
Of gentle Annas love.
Oft., for her sake, Ill gaze on thee.
While distant far I rove.
Smooth like thy surface be her life,
Her days with pleasure glide.
Exempt from sorrow, care, and strife
Nor be one wish denyd.
May each succeeding year be blest,
May joy her steps attend,
Misfortune neer invade her breast,
But peace which knows no end.
It is probable that she crossed to Douglas on the next day. The New Year opened with an "Impromptu, on being teased by my lively sister Bell to make some verses on her birthday" :
Propitious be this day to thee, my Bell,
Mayst thou live long, live happy, and live well.
May sorrow neer assail thy tranquil breast-,
But be thy life with balmy comfort blest.
May sweet vivacity be ever thine,
And pleasures beams thro all thy moments shine.
But may good sense still on thy steps attend,
And guide thine actions like a faithful friend.
Nessys brief period of happiness was to be interrupted by the death, in the following month (February)- of Maria Graham :
"On the death of my lovely and most regretted friend, Maria Graham, who fell a sacrifice to a rapid consumption at the early age of fifteen."
Oh, gloomy sorrow, foe to peace and rest.
Invader cruel of my wetched breast,
When wilt thou cease thy pointed darts to throw
When cease to load me with excessive woe
Thou ever lovd and ever deeply mourn'd.
Whose heavenly form ten thousand charms adored.
In whose sweet face, by beautys hand pourtrayd,
Unnumbered smiles, and willing graces plavd.
Dearest. Mariasister of my heart,
So known so loved but oh, how soon to part
Snatchd from our hopes in all thy infant bloom,
An early victim to the silent tomb.
How shall I hear with anguish to deplore.
And weep that friendship which is mine no more
How bear to lose that love which made me blest.
And charmd with smiles a heart by woe opprest
In all mycares how sweetly didst thou join,
In all my pleasures rnixd and made them thine
Encouragd me to hope that bliss was near,
And gently banishd evry rising tear;
Shard all my happiness when grief was oer,
And said. alas, that I shou'd sigh no more
To bless my hours did every thought employ.
Alike partaker of my grief and joy.
No more shall I those eyes expressive see
Which oft so tenderly woud gaze on me,
No more those eyes shall for my sorrow weep.
For ever closd, alas, in endless sleep.
No more that voice delighted shall I hear,
With plaintive softness trembling on my ear,
Those accents mild and innocently sweet
Which faithful memory will oft repeat.
Closd are those lips, on which persuasion hung,
Mute is that voice and silent is that tongue.
Insatiate spoiler of domestic joys
Relentless Death, why seek so fair a prize ?
Why plunge a fathers heart in endless grief ?
Why mourns a mother, hopeless of relief ?
Why weeps a sister at thy stern decree?
Why snatch her thus from friendship and from me?
Yet oh, pure spirit, dear lamented shade,
Why shoud we grieve that thou art happy made ?
Assurd of that, let plaintive murmurs cease,
Nor let us envy thy eternal peace;
Hush our complaints, imo longer thus repine,
Nor mourn our loss, while perfect bliss is thine.
Then come thou, Resignation, meek-eyd guest,
Shed thy s-oft influence oer each sad breast:
Teach us submission to th Almighty will,
With patient fortitude our bosoms fill,
Teach us to hope that we shall meet again,
Exempt from sorrow, misery, and pain
The her dear form is mingled with the dust,
Teach us to think that Heavns decrees are just;
Yet oh, forgive, if still our tears will flow,
If sighs will heave, and speak our weighty woe,
If memry on her virtues loves to dwell,
If friendship grieves that soon, alas, she fell.
How thou wert lovd, Maria, nought can say,
How art thou mournd thus early snatched away.
To please, delight and charm each heart was tkine,
To weep thy loss, must now, alas, be mine.
Rememberd still, till memory is no more,
And deeply mournd, till life itself is oer.
These are followed by "Lines intended to be workd with my hair in a pocket-book for my amiable lost friend, Maria Graham, when I received the account of her untimely death" :
Accept this trifle, gentle fair,
The gift of love and truth,
And let me still thy friendship share
When age succeeds to youth.
Let me, when absent- from thy sight
Still dwell in that dear mind,
Still to that bosom give delight.
And thou he ever kind.
May Health and Peace and Joy be thine,
May Pleasure dwell with thee,
May all thy days unclouded shine,
Yet oh, remember me!
Another friend passed away at the end of March:
"On the sudden and melancholy death of my very charming friend, Michael Southcote, Esq., who was deservedly the delight of all that knew him."
Oh, thou whose smile coud once een grief disarm,
Whose presence coud each sprightly thought inspire,
Who gave Society its greatest charm,
Whom but to know was ever to inspire,-
To thee I consecrate my simple strain,
A strain attund to plaintive notes of woe;
For thee must each sad friend now mourn in vain,
With sighs that heave and trickling tears that flow.
Not all the gay attractions which were thine,
Not all thy charms, alas ! thy life oould save,
Not all thy sprightly wit so formd to shine,
Not all coud snatch thee from the gloomy grave
Of each gay circle once the chief delight,
With thee festivity and mirth appeard;
Hilarity and fancy ever bright,
Shone in thine eyes and evry bosom cheerd.
At home, the tender husband, father, friend,
Serenely cheerful st-ill t-hine egual mind,
Delightful there the social hour to spend,
And meet a welcome uniformly kind,
Oh ! what avails thy virtues rare to boast,
Thus on thy worth and excellence to dwelt,
To paint those charms by weeping friendship lost,
To sing thy praise or of thy wit to tell !
Torn from the bosom of a faithful wife
In one short hour ! She lives thy loss to mourn,
Of thee bereft to drag her load of life,
And shed new tears with. each new-days return.
How oft shall friendship heave a mournful sigh.
How oft regret the gay companion fled,
How oft shall nieniry fill with tears each eye,
For thou, alas ! art imumbeied with the dead !
For me, on whom thou still did.st kindly smile,
What now remains hut- ceaseless to deplore,
Thy lovd esteem did many a care bguile,
But oh ! I know thy lovd esteem no more
Forever gone ! by cruel Fate s decree,
When least expectccl was the dreadful stroke,
One day beheld thee cheerful, gay and free,
The next the ties of love and friendship broke!
Ala-s I how short our date of pleasure here,
How few the niornents spent in mirth and joy,
How small the bliss this transient life to cheer,
How many cares our little bliss destroy!
Farewell, dear spirit, ever now at- rest,
Thine ashes moulder in the peaceful grave;
Be ever green the turf upon thy brea st.
And oer thy head the mournful cypress wave.
In April she left the Isle of Man for the last time, going to stay with the Grahams. When there she paid a further tribute to her lost friend.
ON MY DEAR MARIA GRAHAM.
Ye happy days of gay delight,
Which once, alas, were mine,
Ye scenes of peace serenely bright,
Where joys were wont to shine !
Whither ah ! whither are ye fled
Fled never to return ?
These weeping eyes new tears must shed
All J must ever mourn.
How switly flew each hour away,
By love amid friendship blest
In joy amid gladness passd each day,
Each night brought peace and rest.
Sad 1icmni y , with liei piercing eye,
Looks back to scenes like these,
Delights to trace with many a sigh,
What once so much coud please.
Yet why thus add ne n pangs of grief?
Why rend my toitur d mind?
Can no reflection bring relief,
Nor sorrow conifort find ?
Aim I mi-ctoo dccl) mi 10S0mS wound,
Too keen time WOC I feel;
Nor time with neverending -ound,
My anguish oer can heal.
Dear lovd Mariagentle friend,
To (lea til a U en ily )rey,
With misery that knows no end,
I mourn thee snatch d away I
Why, why, ye powers, have I a heart
With feeling so replete
Why still with agonising smart
Must this poor bosom heat?
Had I neer known the worth I weep,
How happy might I be
Then should I miot, with sighs so deep,
Bewail my loss in thee
What charms were late in this abode,
Gay pleasure ceaseless smihd
Tsvas she, alas I those charms bestowd,
And evry care beguiled I
Now, as I wander thro each room,
How sad the scene to me,
0 erspread with universal gloom,
For oh ! I meet not thee!
Oh, recollection, nurse of pain,
In pity quit my breast
No more revisit me again,
To rob me thus of rest!
But come, Oblivion, balm of woe,
Thou soother of each grief,
Who can alone on me be-stow
A calm, to give relief!
And oh, Indifference bring with thee,
To her I yield my heart;
Exempt from anguish let me be
And sorrows deadly dart.
Then shall I not with endless pain,
Some loss each day deplore:
Then shall my bosom peace regain,
And know distress no more!
A month later, on the 20th of May, she was still in Great Russell Street, from whence she wrote a "Letter to Mrs. Holwell, on being invited to a very pleasant party at Tunbridge Wells, but preventd attending it :
Your party next Tuesday, my very dear Aunt,
Will be most delightful, I readily grant:
How much I regret that I cannot be there,
Your mirth to enjoy your amusement to share:
I often shall think of you all on that day
And myself deem unlucky in being away;
To toy mind represent how each moment will fly,
And lament my own absence with many a sigh;
Yet what can I do ? All my wishes are vain,
And by wishing, alas ! tis but little we gain
Shoud I wish till my heart aches twoud still be the same,
No nearer Id be to the point where I aim.
Till Peters arrival, you know Im fixed here,
I neer can lose sight of an object so clear;
My heart to affection amid him ever true,
I cant till he quits me see Tunbridge or you.
With eager impatience I long to embrace him,
And tin-n with my kind uncle Pasie\- to place him
He there will be happy, and my heart at ease,
Of his welfare Im sure from his efforts to please.
1 themi shall leave London (with sorrow I own
Unless Mr. Graham consents to go down).
With a friend so belovd, alas I how shall I part!
The thought is distressing, and rends my poor heart.
With various sensations my bosom is torn
The conflict is almost too great to be borne
Affection for you lprompts my wishes that way,
While gratitude here asks a longer delay :
You know I to him all my happiness owe,
That his goodness alone savd my heart from a blow
A blow so tremendous, severe and unjust,
Twoud have levelld my prospects of peace in the dust!
To him I owe Peter, and Peters my bliss,
Ought I then not to love him ? My heart answers "Yes"
You will not be angry, that this I confess,
The him I love much, I dont love you the less
My heart. formd for tenderness ever will prove,
That it wants neither friendship, affection nor love,
Shoud I (most absurdly) attempt to pretend,
I shall feel no regret, when I quit my kind friend,
I shoiid he most ungrateful, anti you might reject me,
Because without feeling youd justly suspect me;
I neither should merit his friendship nor yours,
For mutual affection such friendship ensures
You know with what pleasure to you I shall fly.
Notwithstanding I leave Mr. G. with a sigh!
His merit and worth deserve all I coud give,
Had I worlds to bestow, a-nd forever shoud live;
But your kindness must soothe- me, and sorrow beguile,
With one eye Ill weepwith the other ill smile.
This morning is SundayId nothing to do,
So thought I woud scribble a little to you;
And feeling my wit most un-usual1y, bright,
I determind to take a poetical flight;
Perhaps you will laugh at medo if you chuse,
I care not so much, so I only amuse:
In the meantime, I wish you much sport in your ~shing,
While myself Ill no longer distress by v~in wishing.
Best love to niy uncle, to Zeph, Jem and Will,
And believe me, dear Atmt, I sincerely am still,
With affection and truth (praying Heavn to bless ye)
Your highly ohiigd and most- grateful niece,
Thats not a good rhyme, but I cant find a better,
- And tis time to conclude my nonsensical letter.
Monday Thus far had I written, dear Aunt, yesterday,
But this morning Ive got something further to say:
Harriet Graham arrivd from the country last night,
And her presence affords me much real delight.
Shes a sweet, lovely girl, and perhaps she may stay
In towim a good while_but, dear Aunt, a good day,
My paper is finishd, and I must conclude,
Again your affectionate NESSY HEYWOOD.
She must have gone to stay with her aunt at some period between the end of May and the beginning of August, as on the 3rd of the latter month she composed a
"SONNET TO CONTENTMENT. A PARODY,"
Which was written at their house, "Southbro," near Tunbridge Wells :
Sweet Contentment, tell me why
Still thou dost my bosom fly;
When 1 of Sorrows wounds complain,
Stay, oh ! stay, and soothe my pain I
Gentle Comfort, night and day,
Go not from me far away.
Me and my cares, oh I do not leave
Deign to hear me while I grieve.
Horrid War ! with loud alarms
Draws my Lycid from my arms
While with fears my heart shall beat,
Come, Content, with accents sweet!
Oft repeat thy che-arful st-rain,
Whisper He shall laurels gain,
Care shall not his breast assail,
Joy shall float on evry gale."
But a tender mother weeps
Then, alas ! Contentment sleeps,
Loud I call with suppliant strain
Still she sleepsI call in vain!
Torn with complicated woes,
Bursting sighs and tears that flow
Wheres Content whlec thus I rnourn ?
Fledoh I never to return !
Also a "CATCH (for Three Voices.)"
While our rural sports enjoying,
Far from pomp and Court parade,
Hence dull sorrow, care, and sighing,
Nor this calm retreat invade.
Sacred be this day to pleasure,
Mirth and Music shall combine,
Life is shortwell grasp the treasure,
Peace shall make our moments shine.
Spritely strains each hour beguiling,
Evry voice shall bear a part;
Friendship on her votries smiling,
Speaks delight to every heart!
On the 4th she went for a visit to Major York, at Bishops Grove, near Tunbridge Wells, where, on the following day, she wrote a "CARD to Miss Birch and Miss Hoiwell, on being prevented by some very unpleasant circumstances from joining a most charming party of friends on a Naval Excursion :
I cannot be with you, dear lasses, to-day,
My cares shall not sadden a party so gay;
But tho Im absent my efforts Ill join
To heighten your mirth while at Hamsill1 you dine
Tie a feeble attempt, which I make at great haste
This morning, while dressing, but why should I waste
A moment in framing apologies trite,
My intention, at least, was to give you delight
And tho so unfortunate not to succeed,
Yet kindly accept the good-will for the deed.
The "catch" I have sent you is for voices just- three;
With Warren2 to aid you, you cannot want me,
May social good humour enliven your party,
Be cheerfulness yours, while with wishes most hearty,
That evry new day you may pleasantly spend,
I remain, my dear girls, your affectionate friend.
1A beautiful place where the party dined.
2A gentleman who sang well, and was to be there,
It was called a "Naval Excursion," seemingly, because there were naval officers present. It certainly did not take place at the sea-side, as Hamsill is close to Tunbridge Wells. This "card" extracted an "Answer, impromptu," by the Rev. Dr. Jackson:
Your absence must preclude the prayr,
Which you disinterested give
Tasteless the viands you dont share,
And dull the life where Nessy cannot live!
Hamshill, 7th August, 1793.
We do not know who he was, but it is evident he became attached to Nessy, whose end, alas ! was not far off. It is possible that one of the "unpleasant circumstances" she alluded to may have been illness. It is evident from her likeness that she was very delicate ; and we gather that this was so, too, from certain remarks in the letters of her brother Peter. It is probable that her terrible voyage from England, in the previous October when she was so long exposed to the elements, and got wet through, had injured her. However this may have been, all that we know is that when she was at Major Yorks she was seized "with a most violent cold, and, not taking proper care of herself, it soon turned to an inflammation of the lungs on the fatal 5th of September.*
Some days later her uncle, Colonel HoIwell, took her to Hastings, which, under the circumstances, seems an extraordinary thing to have done, "to try if change of air and being near the sea would recover her ; but, alas ! it was too late for her to receive the wished-for benefit, and she died there on the 25th of the same month, "and," her mothers letter concluded, "has left me, her only surviving parent, a disconsolate mother, ever to lament while I live, with the most sincere affection, the irreparable loss of my most valuable, affectionate and darling daughter.
* Letter from her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Heywood.
Nessy was buried at Hastings. We may be sure that she was deeply regretted by her family and relations, but nothing remains to show this except the following tributes from three friends :
ON THE ACCOMPLISHED MISS NESSY HEYWOOD,
BY THE REV. DOCTOR JACKSON.
Peace to the mind we ever must revere,
And oer her ashes shed one genral tear;
Yet not for her we grieve ! in blissful state
Her soul, secure, defies the hand of fate;
Whilst on the waves of fickle fortune test
We mourn the daughter, friend, and sister lost!
Tunbridge Wells, 1793. T. J
The writer of the next is unknown :
To MRS. HEYWOOD, PARADE, ISLE OF MAN.
The author hopes he presumes not impertinently in offering the enclosd small tribute, which is but the promise of one more equal to the subject and his respect.
Wednesday Evening, Douglas.
AN ELEGIAC INVOCATION OF THE MUSES OCCASIOND BY THE DEATH OF THE AMIABLE MISS NESSY HEYWOOD.
Now weave the Cypress wreath, Celestial Nine !
Now all in eloquence of grief combine,
To tell the world its loss. For you -alone,
In strains accordant, can that loss bemoan.
The sprightly wit and captivating sense,
That Envy, een denied malign Pretence,
The Hand whose touch coud animate The clod,
Or lift, in solemn stroke, the soul to God
The voice seraphic I ever heard to raise,
Exstatic transport, in melodious lays!
The sympathetic breast, whose plaintive strain
Could melt afflictionsto Compassion s pain,
All, all were her s !and many a beauty more,
Which you alone, with justice, may deplore.
F-or me, the humble wish is all remains,
Ye magic soothers of distractions pains!
That by your aid, she in her death may live,
While een one blessing Fame may have to give !
And through persuasion of her present bliss
Her weeping friends the cross of Fate my kiss!
October 8th, 1793.
But the "lines, occasioned by reading an account of the death of Miss Nessy Heywood in the last paper," are by Nessys old friend, John Stowell
How soon ! sweet maid, how like a fleeting dream,
Thy winning graces, all thy virtues seem I
How soon, arrested in thy early bloom,
Has Fate decreed thee to the joyless tomb I
Nor Beauty, Genius, nor the Muses care,
Nor ought could move the Tyrant Death to spare.
Ah I could their powr revoke the stern decree,
The fatal shaft had past unfelt by thee;
But vain thy wit, thy sentiment refind,
Thy charms external, and accomplishd mind;
Thy artless smiles that seizd the willing heart,
Thy converse, that coud pure delight impart;
The melting music of thy skilful tongue,
While judgment listend, ravishd with thy song;
Not all the gifts that art and nature gave,
Could save thee, lovely Nessy, from the grave !
Too early lost! from friendships bosom torn,
O might I tune thy lyre, and sweetly mourn
In strains like thine, when beauteous Margarets fate
Oppressd thy friendly heart with sorrows weight;
Then shoud my numbers flow, and laurels bloom
In endless spring around fair Nessys tomb !
Isle of Man, 1793.
So ended, at the early age of twenty-five, the brief life of one who was evidently not only good and amiable, but talented and charming.